Archive for the ‘Reason Foundation’ Category

Reason-Rupe Poll: 55 Percent of Americans Say We’ve Given Up Too Much Freedom and Privacy in the Name of Security Since 9/11

September 7, 2011 Comments off

Reason-Rupe Poll: 55 Percent of Americans Say We’ve Given Up Too Much Freedom and Privacy in the Name of Security Since 9/11
Source: Reason Foundation

With the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks approaching, 55 percent of Americans say “we have given up too much freedom and privacy in the name of security” since the attacks, according to a new national Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey of 1,200 adults.

Nearly, 79 percent of Americans feel we have less privacy now than we did before 9/11 and 62 percent say we have less personal freedom today. However, 81 percent have faith that the security measures implemented since the attacks make us safer overall.

Only 15 percent of the public is “very confident” that the Department of Homeland Security, created following 9/11, will prevent another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Another 40 percent are somewhat confident and 21 percent are slightly confident that the agency will prevent an attack.

When it comes to airport security, 49 percent of Americans believe the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) would catch a terrorist trying to board a plane at a U.S. airport, while 44 percent say the TSA would not. Confidence in the TSA is notably high among Democrats, who, by a margin of 54 percent to 38 percent, believe the TSA would capture a terrorist trying to get on a plane. Conversely, by 51 percent to 45 percent, Republicans do not think TSA screeners would spot a terrorist.

+ Full survey results (PDF)

Unmasking the Mortgage Interest Deduction: Who Benefits And By How Much?

September 1, 2011 Comments off

Unmasking the Mortgage Interest Deduction: Who Benefits And By How Much?
Source: Reason Foundation

The deduction of mortgage interest from federal income taxes subsidizes homeownership, making it more affordable to become a homeowner. Or so we’ve been told. It is a highly popular tax break, yet one that is not without criticism. For example, it turns out the mortgage interest deduction (MID) primarily benefits those who would choose to own homes anyway while encouraging them to simply buy bigger and more expensive homes. Those who are on the margin between renting and owning tend not to itemize deductions, thus they cannot benefit from the MID. As a result, if the goal is to increase the homeownership rate, the MID is an ineffective tool. Furthermore, it creates a distortion in the choice between financing owner-occupied housing with debt or other assets, and in the choice between investing in residential real estate or other assets.

Despite its popularity among voters, the mortgage interest deduction has long been a target for elimination. Most recently, President Obama’s deficit reduction commission (Simpson-Bowles) had it in its sights. While there is general sentiment among voters that the mortgage interest deduction is a good idea, there is little understanding of its impact. In order to understand the potential impact of closing this loophole, this study examines specifically who benefits from the MID and how much they benefit. It also provides an estimate of how much tax rates could be reduced if the deduction were eliminated but revenues were held constant as well as a discussion of other possible changes to the mortgage interest deduction.

+ Summary (PDF)
+ Full Report (PDF)


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